Singleness itself is a blessing from God just like marriage is also a blessing from God (1 Corinthians 7:7). So I’m not saying that Satan is happy when a Christian is single. Rather, Satan’s desire is that you miss God’s will and that you choose the opposite of what God wants for you.
So if you sense God has called you to a life of singleness, this article does not apply to you because being called by God to singleness is a high calling that glorifies him. But most Christians are called to marriage; therefore, Satan wants those of you who feel called to marriage to disobey God in this area of your life and he wants to keep you single so you cannot glorify God in marriage day.
And here are 5 common tactics the devil often uses to try to accomplish this goal.
1. Satan Will Try to Keep You Single By Tempting You to Use Wishful Thinking in Regards to Relationships
While we must never learn our theology from non-Christians, it is also wise to see biblical truths playing out in the world around us. While Elon Musk certainly was not attempting to express a biblical principle when he said this quote I’m about to share, what he said was true and points to one of the reasons he has been so successful in business. He said:
One of the biggest mistakes people generally make, and I’m guilty of it too, is wishful thinking. You know, like you want something to be true, even if it isn’t true. You ignore the real truth, because of what you want to be true. This is a very difficult trap to avoid.”
Amen. Peter said it like this, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith . . .” (1 Peter 5:8-9). How does the devil devour people? Peter isn’t talking about a physical oppression by the devil. Rather, he is speaking about following the devil’s lies and giving into temptations, which is why he then says “Resist him, firm in your faith.”
While the devil certainly wants to feed us lies about Jesus Christ and corrupt our understanding of Scripture, he also wants us to view everything incorrectly in our lives. This is why the devil loves wishful thinking. Like Elon Musk said, “You want something to be true, even if it isn’t. You ignore the real truth, because what you want to be true.” This dangerous trend of wishful thinking is especially easy to do when it comes to relationships.
For example, “I know the Bible says not be unequally yoked, but I can be a witness to this person. They will become a Christian if I just show them Jesus through our relationship.” Or, “If I just wait a little longer, I know this person will change and come back to me.” Or, “I know this person does not have godly qualities, but our love can overcome our sinful behavior.”
Wishful thinking is a relationship death wish. We have to face the facts. We have to see our relationships through God’s truth and not through our hopes and dreams. Satan wants to keep you single or in a bad relationship by tempting you to live with wishful thinking.
2. Satan Will Try to Keep You Single By Tempting You to Have Worldly Motives for Marriage
According to Scripture, it’s not enough to just want good things. We also need to want them for good reasons in our hearts. Marriage is a good thing. Marriage was not man’s idea. God is the one who thought of marriage and instituted this covenant bond between a man and woman.
But sin corrupts what is good. One way sin corrupts the pursuit of good things is by wanting the good thing for a bad reason. Satan wants you to want marriage for selfish, worldly reasons. He wants you to care about what other people think of you being single. He wants you to idolize celebrity relationships and imagine how amazing their lives must be. He wants you to want marriage for material blessings, for social prestige, and so you can get all your sexual fantasies satisfied.
While getting married will enhance your financial stability because two are better than one, while it is a blessing to always have a partner in social settings, and while marriage is where God will allow your sexual desires to be satisfied – marriage is not ultimately about us. Marriage is ultimately about bringing glory to God.
As 1 Corinthians 10:31 explains, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Satan will try to keep you single by tempting you to pursue marriage for selfish reasons, thus causing a lack of God’s blessing on your efforts. I’m not saying that if your motives are pure God will instantly give you a spouse. But when you pursue marriage for God’s glory, you will then have his blessing on your efforts.
3. Satan Will Try to Keep You Single By Tempting You to Choose to Believe in Either God’s Sovereignty or Man’s Free Will Rather Than Believing What the Bible Actually Says About Both
I’m not so naive to believe that in a two-minute explanation I will cause all Christians to no longer debate about God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. In reality, a respectful debate about these topics can often deepen our understanding. I accept that there will always be true Christians who either lean more heavily towards God’s sovereignty or more heavily towards man’s freedom when seeking to form their theological beliefs.
But may I simply encourage all of us to not follow a theological camp or a particular theological viewpoint such as Calvinism or Arminianism, but rather may we be people of The Book. May our beliefs be Bible-based. May we not gain our theology from big systematic theology books but rather from the Scriptures themselves.
When I read the Bible, I’m convinced that God is fully sovereign in every possible way. Every molecule is right where God wants it right now. But I am also convinced that God has created us to be active participants in the world he has created, thus our choices have both good and bad consequences. There’s so much more that could be said, but my point in bringing this up here is that I believe Satan wants Christians to be extreme in their practical applications of these two doctrines. I don’t think Satan cares which way you are extreme. He just wants you to choose one over the other rather than living with both truths.
For example, Satan wants you to apply the doctrine of God’s sovereignty to your pursuit of marriage by acting like you are a passive victim with no control in your own life. Someone is supposed to find you, express their feelings to you, and ask you to marry them because God is sovereign? That doesn’t make sense to me because if everyone had this view everyone would be waiting to be found by someone else. But since everyone was just trusting God’s sovereignty and not taking actions steps, no one would be found because everyone would be just waiting.
On the other hand, those who only focus on man’s free will always end up fearful and afraid to act at all because they believe everything depends on them. They know they will eventually make a wrong move and ruin everything. So they either try to do too much and mess things up or they get frozen in fear because they can’t live with the thought of making a mistake.
The point is, to get married, you have to give it all to God and accept everything is ultimately under his control – so you don’t need to overanalyze your every little relationship choice. But you also do need to make wise relationship choices and pray about what God wants you to do because he has called you to live by faith, not sit by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Notice what Paul said when he was speaking about serving the church, “For we are co-workers in God’s service,” (1 Corinthians 3:9, NIV). May we apply this truth to all areas of our lives, including relationships.
4. Satan Will Try to Keep You Single By Tempting You to See God’s Love for You Only Through the Lens of Marriage
The Bible is clear that marriage is ultimately a blessing from God. Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 19:4 states, “House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.”
Satan, however, wants you to start believing that marriage is “the” blessing from God. In other words, he wants you to start believing that if God really loved you, he would instantly give you a spouse. Since he is not giving you a spouse right now, this means he does not really love you. This lie will keep you single because it will cause you to start believing bad things about God and thus you will no longer follow him. You will start taking matters into your own hands or you will get so confused about everything you will just sit around complaining about God’s lack of love for you.
God’s love for you is expressed in far greater ways than marriage. Ultimately, God’s love for you is expressed through access to himself through Jesus Christ. 1 John 4:9-10 explains:
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
5. Satan Will Try to Keep You Single By Tempting You to Have Halfhearted Obedience to God
I’m not advocating that you act like an unbeliever, totally forsake God, and do whatever you can to get married. What I am saying, however, is that one reason many unbelievers get married is because they easily find people living just like them. Men and women who live life in similar ways naturally connect. A couple living in sin will have a terrible marriage and will not be blessed by God, but their common sinful lifestyle causes them to get married and partner together to begin with.
One reason halfhearted obedience to God keeps you single is because you don’t fit anywhere. The sin in your life causes you to link up with non-Christians, but the obedience to God in your life causes you to not marry them. The obedience in your life makes you hope to find a fellow Christian to marry one day, but the disobedience in your life keeps you away from other Christians.
To get into a godly marriage, you have to be all in with God. You have to fully reject the world and cut everything out of your life that is not pleasing to God. Most of all, Satan wants you to reject God and choose a sinful relationship over Jesus. But if he can’t do that, Satan wants you to be lukewarm so you don’t fit with anyone. What he dreads the most is full obedience to Jesus Christ. As James 4:4-8 explains:
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”